Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

Don't be intimidated to make gnocchi because it really isn't hard at all!! I promise you, after you make it you'll stop buying frozen gnocchi from the store.

This recipe comes from one of Martha's book, Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook. This is a great "how to" book. I find myself going to this book several times a week.

Typically gnocchi is served with pesto basil. I was very close to making a vodka cream sauce but had a lot of fresh basil on hand so decided to go with the pesto. Next time I'll try a different sauce.

2 1/4 pounds of russet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups all purpose flour
coarse salt
basil pesto

Cook potatoes (unpeeled) until tender when pierced with a fork, about 35-40 mins. Remove skin with a paring knife and immediately pass through a potato ricer. Let cool completely. Turn potatoes onto a work surface, then pour egg over the potatoes and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt. Start to work mixture with your hands and bring it together to form a dough. Gently knead 4 to 5 mins, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking , until dough is smooth and elastic. To check, pinch off a piece and roll into a rope; it should not break apart. Pat dough into a rough rectangle, 2 to 3 inches thick. Begin gently rolling each piece under the palms of your hands into a rope then continue rolling until it is 1/2 inch in diameter. Use the bench scraper to cut ropes crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Roll a cut side of each dumpling against the tines of a fork with your thumb.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Working in small batches, add gnocchi and cook until they float to the top about 2 minutes. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and gently shake off excess water. Serve immediately.

Pizza: Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers, Grilled Chicken & Mozzarella Cheese

I came up with the idea for this pizza based off one of my favorite panini's (roasted red peppers, mozzarella, & pesto).

The pizza dough is so simple that it will make you question why you use store bought. This recipe for pizza dough makes enough for 2 large pizzas or 8 individual ones. I used one for this recipe and put the other half in the freezer for later use (probably sometime later this week).

1 whole wheat pizza dough (recipe here)
2 Red Bell Peppers, roasted
8 ounces of Mozzarella cheese
1 lb of grilled chicken breast, cubed

Prepare pizza dough according to directions. Bake for 8 mins.

Spread pesto on crust, top with roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, & mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-16 mins.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Last night I went over to Gina's apartment where she made her favorite veggie chili. To go with the chili I made some cheesy cornbread that turned out to be a great pair.

I'm a big fan of cornbread with chili but I'm not a fan when the cornbread is dry. The cheese in this recipe really helps make this a moist cornbread.

I got the recipe from Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) from the food network. She puts scallions and jalapenos in her version but I omitted them from mine. It's key to let the mixture sit for 20 minutes before putting it into a pan to let the baking powder help the cornbread rise.
I made my cornbread in a 9 x 13 x 2 pan but you can be really creative and make individual loafs or muffins.

Try this recipe for cornbread the next time you're making chili!

You can find the recipe here

Friday, November 6, 2009

Turkey Panini with Cheddar Cheese & Cranberry Chutney

(photo by Nadya L Popil)
This recipe was inspired by my one and only trip to Mansour's in Scranton. Mrs. Mesko made me a delcious panini. I enjoyed that panini so much I've been thinking about replicating it for quite some time now. Well I finally got around to it tonight!

It's so simple and easy to do even with out a panini press. I have an indoor grill pan that I used to make these. The George Forman grill works just as well.

This is a great recipe since Thanksgiving is around the corner and there will most likely be a lot of left over turkey.

Prepare panini with the follow ingredients on Ciabatta bread:
  • Cranberry chutney (find recipe here)

  • Fresh craved turkey breast

  • Cheddar cheese

Put on panini press or grill (and press) until thinned out and crispy. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

I had some friends over for dinner a few weeks ago and decided to make eggplant parmesan. This isn't my first time having eggplant parm; however, it was my first time making it. I got the recipe from September 2009 issue of Everyday Food.

This recipe is time consuming but well worth it after all the work I put into it. I'm so mad at myself for forgetting to take a picture of it after I cut into it. I guess I was too excited and really hungry.

This is a great dish to make ahead and freeze for later. To freeze: prepare as directed; wrap tightly with foil and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw completely and bake as directed.

You can find the recipe here

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie

I've been meaning to make this recipe for quite a while. I've always been a fan of chicken pot pie; however, sometimes it's just too filling. This recipe substitutes the traditional pie crust with phyllo dough. Phyllo dough is a Greek pastry dough; it's paper thin and very delicate. I made it as one large chicken pot pie; however, you can make these into individual chicken pot pies.

I substituted the fresh tarragon for fresh thyme and omitted the peas since I'm not a huge fan of peas. It was very tasty for a cool fall day!

You can find the recipe here

Saturday, September 19, 2009

End of the Summer Chili

Yummy! I got this recipe from the August 2009 issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray. I made it with ground turkey but you can use beef, pork, or ground chicken. The recipe calls for summer vegetables- zucchini & corn. There's no beans in this chili but I think they'd make a great addition.

You can find the recipe here

Comfort food: Chicken Ala King

I love cooking when there's a chill in the air. This time of year is perfect and it always puts me in the mood for some good comfort food. I've been wanting to make chicken ala king for awhile now and finally got around to it last night.

About a year ago I went to a "Tastefully Simple" party. Have you ever heard of this company? They're known for making things super easy. I bought this biscuit mix and finally got around to making them for chicken ala king. They were very easy and very good!

I got the chicken ala king recipe from Rachel Ray. I'm not a big fan of peas so used celery instead. This is one of her 30 min meals; however, it took me about an hour. All in all it was very good meal. I'll be making this one again.

You can find the recipe here

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Israeli Salad

Israeli salad is perfect for this time of year especially for those with their own gardens. Israeli salad is a combination of finely chopped cucumbers and tomatoes with a little bit of onion. This is a great recipe to serve during summer cookouts with some pita chips or it's a great to serve in a wrap along with some hummus. I added some feta cheese for additional flavor; chickpeas and black olives would go nicely too.

Salad Recipe:
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
3 shallots, diced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons a freshly chopped parsley
Salt & Pepper

Toss vegetables and coat with dressings.

Basil Pesto Orzo Salad

Pesto is a simple sauce that can be used in so many ways! I had a couple people over for the 4th of July and decided to make an orzo pesto salad. So where do I turn for a great Pesto recipe? That's right...Martha! I have Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook which gives a great step by step recipe for Pesto. If you're a garlic lover like myself you'll love this recipe. If you're not a huge garlic fan Pesto might not be for you.

3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups of loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt
1/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
(I used a food processor even though Martha suggests to use a mortar and pestle). Pulse together basil, garlic, pine nuts, & salt until the basil is pulverized and the pine nuts and garlic are pasty. Add cheese and pour oil in a slow steady stream and mix until combined. Serve immediately.

The pesto orzo salad is a breeze from here. Just make the orzo according to the package. Rinse with cold water to cool and cover with pesto. Chill for 30 mins. You can cut up tomato and mozzarella to add to the salad as well.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

General Tso

I've been craving Chinese food for awhile now so I decided to give into that craving by making Martha's version of general tso chicken. The process is timely but the end product was well worth it.

You can find the recipe here

Friday, June 19, 2009

Turkey Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

I'm so happy I found this recipe for turkey burgers. It's much better and more flavorful than the old recipe I had. I plan on trying some of Rachel Ray's fun burger recipes this summer too. I'll keep you posted.

This turkey burger is so yummy even Liz the typical "beef only girl" loves it!

You can make them as sliders and serve at a party or make them big like I do. Whatever you prefer. You can find the turkey burger recipe here.

I made some sweet potato fries for the side. It was a very satisfying meal. You can serve the sweet potato fries with brown sugar/butter, honey, ketchup, or just eat them plain. You can find the sweet potato fries recipe here. (To keep the kitchen cool this summer you can grill up the sweet potato fries)

Gnocchi with Summer Vegetables

This recipe came from one of my favorite magazines that I subscribe to, Everyday Food. It's another one that we can thank Martha for. They have a show on PBS that airs every Saturday.

This recipe jumped out at me while I was flipping through the magazine. It seriously was a 30 min meal. The tomatoes and the starchy gnocchi water create a delicious creamy sauce. I promise you'll enjoy! Super easy!

You can find the recipe here

Mozzarella Panini

This is one of my favorite meals. It works as a great lunch or dinner. It's so yummy! The flavors of the roasted red peppers, mozzarella and pesto work so well together! Keep in mind- to save time you can buy premade pesto. I'm thinking about adding grilled chicken to this panini the next time I make them.

You can find the recipe here

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'll be back

Hey everyone this killer class is coming to an end. Just want to let you know there will be lots a recipes posted in the coming weeks. Just haven't had the time these days.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Soup, soup, and more soup

The cold weather had me making lots of different soups. Making and trying out different soups is a fun experience during the cold months of winter; face it there's nothing better to do. Soup is a great meal that is really good for stretching the dollar; you usually get more than one meal out of a pot of soup.

Over the last month I made the following:
Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Italian Wedding Soup (with turkey meatballs)

Carrot Soup

Orecchiette with Roasted Broccoli & Walnuts

I didnt get a great picture of this meal but it sure was delicious! This recipe came from the February Real Simple. It was super simple! I'll be making this again.

A good idea from Real Simple: "The combination of roasted broccoli, walnuts, and garlic also makes a delicious side dish for chicken, beef, or pork."

You can find the recipe here

Red Velvet Cupcakes

For February club I made some red velvet cupcakes with creamy vanilla frosting. The recipe came from my Magnolia Bakery book. It was a lengthy and detailed process but I was very happy with the results.

You can find the recipe here

Nadya had fun decorating the cupcakes. See her lovely work below.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

If you don't what Quinoa is you're missing out. Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah. It's a grain that is full of protein. It can be used as an alternative to rice in any meal.

Tonight I roasted asparagus, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, & parsnips at 400 degrees for 40-50 mins. I coated the vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. I cooked the quinoa as directed on the package. After the vegetables and quinoa were cooked I tossed and coated with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
This meal was very simple and extremely healthy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Parsley, and Breadcrumbs

I love cauliflower especially when it's roasted. It added great flavor to this dish. Instead of toasting up the bread I used breadcrumbs that I had on hand. I usually don't keep white bread on hand and didn't feel like buying a loaf for this dish. The breadcrumbs worked just as well.

I did forget one important step when making this dish. I forgot to save the pasta water! How stupid of me!!! I used some olive oil and tap water to get it to a good consistency. It was quite tasty!!!

You can find the recipe here

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vegetable Chowder

I enjoy making soups on Sundays. This is a great meal when you're looking for left overs. Overall, I enjoyed the chowder. When I reheat it tomorrow I'll be sure to add some extra salt and pepper, which I thought it was lacking. Since corn isn't in season I used frozen corn which also helps save time. I used skim milk to keep it on the lighter side but of course you can use whatever you prefer.

*You can find the recipe here

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Morning Mini Muffins

This morning I whipped up some coffee cake mini muffins. I found the recipe earlier in the week and couldn't wait to try it out. The sour cream helps keep them very moist. I wish there was more of a cinnamon taste to them. Next time I think I'll add more than the recipe calls for (a pinch). Overall they were very easy. Perfect for a weekend breakfast.

You can find the recipe here

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore with Whole Wheat Pasta

I've been wanting to make this meal for a while. I saw Giada making Chicken Cacciatore on Everyday Italian on the Food Network while surfing the channels about a year ago.

The whole process was lengthy but everything was very tasty. The chicken was very flavorful and moist. I cooked up some whole wheat pasta which went very nice with the meal. The recipe makes plenty which is always good for left overs.

*You can find the recipe here

I'm Back

Hi everyone.
I apologize for the lack of posts for the past several weeks. The Internet has been down in my house. I've been cooking lots and now that it's back up and running I'm excited to share. Keep checking for new posts...I have lots to blog about.